In case you have not been paying attention, Bitcoin is hot and (mostly) everybody wants a piece of the action.
Buy Bitcoin and you will see returns unheard of on Wall Street, or so the narrative has gone thus far. But for those looking to hop onto Bitcoin Mania at this stage in the game, they will discover that the price of many virtual currencies are no longer the bargain they once were.
And, according to a new LendEDU poll, some Bitcoin investors are leveraging their own finances in order to get some skin in the game.
LendEDU polled 672 active Bitcoin investors and discovered that many of them are purchasing the crypto currency in an incredibly risk manner: incurring credit card debt.
Full Survey Results
1. Which of the following best describes how you funded your account to purchase Bitcoin?
a. 33.63% of Bitcoin investors answered “I used a debit card to fund and purchase.”
b. 18.60% of Bitcoin investors answered “I used the ACH bank transfer process to fund and purchase.”
c. 18.15% of Bitcoin investors answered “I used a credit card to fund and purchase.”
d. 16.22% of Bitcoin investors answered “Other.”
e. 13.39% of Bitcoin investors answered “I used a bank wire transfer to fund and purchase.”
2. (Asked only to those who answered with “C”) After purchasing Bitcoin on your credit card, have you paid off your credit card balance?
a. 77.87% of Bitcoin investors answered “I paid off my credit card balance after purchasing Bitcoin.”
b. 22.13% of Bitcoin investors answered “I did not pay off my credit card balance after purchasing Bitcoin.”
3. (Asked only to those who answered with “B” to the previous question) Are you comfortable paying interest on your credit card as a result of your Bitcoin purchase?
a. 70.37% of Bitcoin investors answered “Yes, I believe owning Bitcoin is worth the interest expense.”
b. 29.63% of Bitcoin investors answered “No, I am worried about the interest expense.”
4. (Asked only to those who answered with “B” to question two) Are you planning to pay off your credit card balance, accumulated by purchasing Bitcoin, by using the proceeds from the sale of your Bitcoin investment?
a. 88.89% of Bitcoin investors answered “Yes.”
b. 11.11% of Bitcoin investors answered “No.”
5. (Asked only to those who answered with “C” to question one) Do you plan on buying additional Bitcoin using your credit card?
a. 76.23% of Bitcoin investors answered “Yes.”
b. 23.77% of Bitcoin investors answered “No.”
Observations & Analysis
Much of the data that came from this poll of 672 active Bitcoin investors was quite concerning.
First, more than half (51.78%) of respondents stated that they either used a credit or debit card to fund their account to purchase Bitcoin. Specifically, 33.63 percent of investors were using debit cards, while 18.15 percent were using credit cards.
Why is this concerning? The virtual currency exchanges where Bitcoin is bought and sold will charge conversion fees when either a credit or debit card is used to find an investor’s account. Coinbase, the largest of the cryptocurrency exchanges, charges a conversion fee of 3.99 percent when a user uses his or her credit or debit card to bankroll their account.
Obviously, this is not the most financially-savvy move on the part of of a sizable percentage of Bitcoin investors; no one ever wants to pay extra than what is necessary, especially when dealing with something as volatile as Bitcoin. The wisest and most frugal way to fund a virtual currency exchange account would be through an ACH transfer, which is completely free of charge. Only 18.60 percent of our 672 Bitcoin-invested respondents were paying for the cryptocurrency in this fashion.
However, this was not even the most pressing concern coming from the LendEDU poll. That recognition belongs to this data-point: 22.13 percent of Bitcoin investors did not pay off their credit card balance after purchasing Bitcoin.
Going into debt to buy Bitcoin is not a wise decision no matter which way it is spun. There is no guarantee that Bitcoin investment returns will be profitable in the long run, but one can guarantee that the credit card company will need to be paid back. Considering the average annual percentage rate (APR) on a credit card is 15.07 percent, a Bitcoin investor that finances their investment at the wrong time will find themselves in serious debt.
This is especially worrisome when the volatility of Bitcoin is taken into thought. Some of the world’s foremost financial minds predict the virtual currency could crash at some point. Heavily investing in Bitcoin via credit card only to have it crash overnight could lead to a nightmare financial scenario.
Judging from the results our poll, most Bitcoin investors are not worried about a crash and believe that the returns from their Bitcoin investment will be sufficient enough to pay back their credit card bills. For example, 70.37 percent of respondents that carried over their credit card balance stated that owning Bitcoin is worth the interest expense. Additionally, 88.89 percent of that same pool of investors plan on paying off their credit card bill from the money generated after selling their Bitcoin.
Is it possible that the price of Bitcoin continues to skyrocket and the gamble these respondents are taking pays off? Definitely, but that is not to say they are not still playing with fire. Using a large line of credit and carrying over one’s balance to gain financial leverage on Bitcoin and possibly take advantage of the virtual currency’s huge price swings might pay huge dividends but may also leave him or her in insurmountable debt, made worse by interest.
Evidently, none of these fears are scaring off many of the Bitcoin investors that are using a credit card to purchase the cryptocurrency. In fact, they are doubling down. 76.23 percent of this cohort said they have intentions to purchase more Bitcoin using a credit card.
All data that was featured in this LendEDU report came from an online poll commissioned by LendEDU and conducted online by online polling company Pollfish. In total, 672 active Bitcoin investors were polled on the questions listed. Respondents were screened to ensure they were currently invested in Bitcoin and then asked to correctly answer followup information about Bitcoin so as to double screen them. The poll was conducted over a four day span, starting on December 8th, 2017 and ending on December 11th, 2017.
LendEDU was not compensated by a third-party for running this survey. LendEDU has no financial relationships with any companies who market Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency products.
As of December 18th, 2017, none of the employees on LendEDU’s editorial team own Bitcoin.